Maritime pollution in Denmarked halved with new legislation

With the entry of 2015 vessels have had to comply with new, stricter environmental regulations in the Netherlands. The new international regulations require that ships in the North Sea and the Baltic use cleaner fuels with lower sulfur content. As a result sulfur emissions to the atmosphere over Denmark have fallen by more than half.

To avoid boats ignoring the new rules, the Danish Ministry of Environment and Food has intensified its pollution control by a device, sniffer” placed on the Great Belt Bridge, which connects the Danish islands Zealand and Funen. The sniffer can detect when ships passing under the bridge use a fuel that is not allowed by the new legislation.

The first air measurements revealed that 98% of the vessels are complying with the regulations. Furthermore, according to the new report from theDCE, Danish Centre for Environment and Energy, University of Aarhus, the sulfur content in the air over the country has been reduced to 60% since the beginning of year.

Denmark is the first country in the world to apply new technologies in an effort to control pollution from ships and ensure that all meet the requirements. The benefits of the non-compliance are high, and the control and enforcement of the new regulations is therefore vital to the prevention of pollution from ships and for unfair competition with law-abiding shipowners.

Extra fuel costs depend on the size and speed of the vessel and can be up to one million DKK on a trip back and forth between the English Channel to the Baltic Sea.

The control is not performed only from the Great Belt Bridge, it has also arranged for a small plane equipped with a sniffer for the control of ships on the busiest routes in Danish waters. If the sniffer detects that a vessel uses a disallowed fuel, it notifies the authorities of the nearest port, which shall bring the infringement to an end.

Sniffer technology has been developed by the Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, and the pollution control is done under the grant of DKK 6.3 million from the Danish Ministry of Environment and Food.

Much of the pollution in Denmark comes from outside, so that international collaboration is important, as well as joint international effort to ensure the compliance of ships. That is why Denmark is currently working with the EU and the IMO to ensure effective control and even application of the legislation.

Source: Revista Ingeniería Naval